Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: Siege and Storm

SIEGE AND STORM
The Grisha #2
Leigh Bardugo
Young Adult/Fantasy
448 pages
Henry Holt and Co.
Available June 4th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.


MY THOUGHTS
Siege and Storm returns us to a world that utterly captivated us from its introduction, teaming us back up with a young woman yanked from the throngs of the many and placed among the exalted and elite few with hardly any time to get her bearings. Based on the lack of even a small recap in the opening chapters of this second installment, it's recommended that readers review the concluding events of Shadow and Bone to help them find their footing before journeying forth with Alina and Mal once again, but even those who stumble a bit in the beginning without the refresher will find themselves fully immersed in–and connected to–Alina's world before long. Once the connections broken by time are firmly reestablished, Ms. Bardugo holds us spellbound, utterly riveted to the pages as the girl who literally radiates light falls prey to darkness from within and without.

Our affection for Alina is one of the first things to burst forth from the pages in a torrent of fond memories from book one, and we're immediately reminded of the strength it takes to bear both the reverent love of the masses and the distrust and dislike of the powerful, wishing we could will her some of our support through finger to page osmosis. We're eternally grateful for Mal's presence though, and eventually the lighthearted companionship of one snarky, smart-mouthed privateer, both of whom are able to grant Alina a few brief moments of normalcy before the weight of a world's expectations is placed firmly back on her shoulders. Though there are brief flashes of an Alina we don't recognize when the aforementioned darkness starts to take hold, she never once submits in full, continuing to fight enemies of the mind and heart as well as the physical enemies that are bearing down on Ravka with everything she has.

The most noticeable change in this book from its predecessor is the physical absence of the Darkling, an enigmatic and epically complex figure who haunted both our dreams and nightmares as we devoured Shadow and Bone. What makes him such a beautifully unforgettable villain is his cool calculation and cunning, and while he only graces us with his presence in the very beginning, his seemingly small and perhaps even petty strike against Alina proves to be a well-placed hook that tugs free a tiny thread from the fabric of her life. Once he makes his move, he retreats for almost the full remainder of the story, but what we don't see until much later is the tactical genius of his strike, leaving the thread he tugged dangling loose to snag on any one of the many obstacles she faces, unraveling a bit more every time it catches on one of her new responsibilities, her love for Mal, or her fear of herself and what she's becoming. Instead of plaguing her with assault after assault, he simply gives a nearly imperceptible pull and then watches and waits as she undoes herself, ensuring he's done the most damage with the least amount of effort so that he remains strong for the physical battle to come.

Ms. Bardugo does not disappoint with Siege and Storm, crafting a story that nicks our hearts again and again as Alina struggles, but she saves the deeper cuts and the more powerful blows for the concluding chapters, sending us reeling just before we're left staring desolately at the acknowledgements and inside back cover. She does gift us with an “After”, a short two pages where the story switches to third person from first, and in the final line we find a spark of hope we have no doubt will grow into a roaring fire of retribution in the final installment.

Rating: 4.5/5
 

Find Leigh:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

37 comments:

  1. Ok now I have to go back and read this glimpse of hope!!! Was it at the beginning? At the end? I cannot remember…
    Still, this book was epic even if I was slightly irritated with Mal..
    And Jenny.. you forgot Sturmhound!?!? Best Character in this book ever!

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    1. It was at the very end, I think it was the last line:) And I loved Sturmhound! I mentioned him, but only briefly and not by name. I figured everyone else has said what I wanted to say about him, so I can't really say it better!

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  2. I can't wait to read this one. Actually I haven't read the first one yet but I'm waiting for this one to be published so I don't have to wait. This world sounds like something amazing and I miss reading some good fantasy. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. A good plan. I do that with a lot of series. It's just better for my mental health if I don't have to wait in between! Hope you love them Tanja:)

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  3. but she saves the deeper cuts and the more powerful blows for the concluding chapters Hah I love what you've done with this line Jenny! And I agree with everything you've said in this review, I was really disappointed when I heard that the Drakling wouldn't be around as much, but I love how Bardugo wove him into the story. Also the lack of the Darkling was certainly made up by with the introduction of Sturmhond, this guy had me laughing endlessly. I can't wait to see which direction will take the next book, especially they way things were left. Another lovely review Jenny! :)

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    1. and whoops I wrote Drakling! I totally meant Darkling! :/

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    2. I totally read it as Darkling anyway, so I didn't even notice:) And I agree, Sturmhond definitely filled the hole left by the Darkling. He was awesome:)

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  4. Gahhhhh I absolutely MUST read this one. I loved loved loved the first book, and although I'm a bit sad that the Darkling isn't around all that much, I might just be able to overlook it. After all, if you gave it a nearly perfect review, it must be fantastic! Great review, Jenny :)

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    1. You will love it Melissa! No middle book here, so much happens:)

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  5. I just skimmed your review because I have to wait until tomorrow to start it -- final touches on National Boards, send it off tomorrow and THEN I'M FREE TO READ MY ASS OFF!!! And I'm starting with SEIGE & STORM!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, all caps & many exclamation parts were definitely necessary.)

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    1. SO EXCITED FOR YOU TO READ IT MARY! You'll have to let me know what you think:)

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  6. I am beyond excited for you that you got to review this one because I am super excited to read it myself! You are so lucky to have gotten a copy of it!!
    I am so glad this second installment doesn't disappoint. I have heard nothing but praise for it!!

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    1. I thought it was fabulous:):) I would have loved a little more Darkling because I find him fascinating, but that's just me being greedy really. So, so good:)

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  7. So I'm guessing by your recommendation that you review the end of the first book that you were pretty confused at first. Am I right? That happens to me every time. I'm curious about the Darkling's strategic absence. I love him. I wish he wasn't evil but I think it's genius that he is.

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  8. So excited for this one and so happy that it wasn't disappointing or one of those middle-of-the-road-book-two-in-a-series type of book. It will be weird to have the Darkling not play such a physical role in this book, but I am excited to learn more about Mal and see how their relationship plays out. Great review, Jenny!

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  9. I only skimmed this b/c I haven't read the first one yet. From what I got from it though you really enjoyed this one as well. I have to put Shadow and Bone higher on my TBR pile.

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  10. I have book one in this series and ooh Jenny I need to crack it open. Your review and excitement has me wanting to forget my ARC pile and dive into this world!

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  11. After reading your review I'm SO excited to read my copy! I'm hoping to make time for it this weekend. But it's been awhile since I read S&B, so maybe I'll just do a quick reread of the last few chapters. I absolutely LOVE the way you describe the Darkling's influence over Alina like a thread he only has to pull. That image perfectly describes his ominous and all influencing presence over the whole series. Ahh I can't wait! This is a seriously beautiful review, Jenny! :-)

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  12. How awesome are these covers? Love them! Especially this one. I got the paperback version of the first book last week and YAY!! I cannot wait to start it. I think I'm going to have to wait until this one is out though since most likely I'll probably love it and be obsessed with it and want the sequel right away. I am so glad you thought this was almost perfect and eeeeeekkkk, girl, you just got me even more excited :-) LOVE!

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  13. Eep! I have plans to read this soon, so I skipped over the review (*sad face*), but the rating has me itching to READ THIS LIKE NOW.

    WANT.

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  14. Loved this review Jenny! I need to read this ASAP! I can already tell that I'm going to want the next book and STAT!

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  15. Love seeing that high rating. I so enjoyed the first book. I am a tad bit disappointed though that the Darkling isn't playing a bigger part. He was so deliciously dark and intriguing in the first book!

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  16. I have been wanting to read that first one for what seems like so long. I now can't wait to get into this one and really meet Mal! So need to read it.

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  17. Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I loved it too and you're right - our love for Alina really carries through to this one and enables us to understand her much more. I can't wait for R&R now! :D

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  18. Ohhh I want to read Siege and Storm so badly!! And I can definitely live with the Darkling being absent. Team Mal!:D

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  19. LOVED this book! And a certain privateer sure did a great job of stealing of the show, or at least my attention. The ending about killed me, I need more! And you're right, there's no recap and I was wishing I had done a glance through of Shadow and Bone before picking it up. Not a biggie though, I was involved very quickly!

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  20. Eeeekk!! SO EXCITED to read this!! Ohh, I can't wait to get reacquainted with Alina and Mal as I like them quite a lot, as well. I'm a bit disappointed by the absence of the Darkling, but it sounds like his presence is still going to weigh on the story quite a bit. I am so happy that you thought so highly of this sequel, Jenny! Makes me even more excited than I was (if it's possible). Such a good review.

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  21. I still haven't read the first one and I really need to do so seeing that the sequel is even better! This series is kinda different from what I usually read but I trying new books this year and I'll definitely add it to my list. Great review, Jenny :)

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  22. I haven't read the first one so I just skimmed your review. But it looks like I did good waiting for the sequel because it's one that you need the first one fresh in your mind before beginning this one. Great to see your high rating, Jenny! :)

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  23. This review has made me so giddy to read Siege and Storm. I couldn't help but think of Dane Cook's "Brain Ninja" joke while reading about The Darkling. And I quote, "Its the tiniest, its just a little tic-tac size comment, but its a detonator...3 days later, 30 days later; it's going to explode." Poor Alina.

    The ending sounds epic and gut-wrenching! Great review!

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  24. Awesome review Jenny. This sounds like a series I would enjoy.

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  25. *cries at the lack of my beloved Darkling* I'm curious to see what move he makes against Alina. June 4th can't come soon enough, Jenny!

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  26. Jenny, what a beautiful review. I could not have said it better myself. The Darkling is a pretty genius villain isn't her? I loved what Leigh did with the story and I appreciated how the second book added the the plot versus just filling a gap.

    Great review,

    Sara @ Just Another Story

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  27. I did not find this book at my favorite online bookstore.. Suggest me from where to order books online... I wanna read this one asap.. :)

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  28. I missed the Darkling too but you know Sturmhond has now stolen my heart. Alina belongs with the Darkling and I'll take Sturmhond - Mal just you know he doesn't cut it - too pansy nansy - come on her WHOLE life she was trying to be someone else for HIM and now he "loves" her and yet he won't accept ALL of her. Weak I tell you

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